the rainbow label using flickr to find a background image and Picnik to edit it. Then I'll give you a few links to other tutorials with more options. There are so many ways to do this sort of thing, and I love learning from others how they do it.
One of the reasons I like Picnik for image editing is that it's entirely web-based. Nothing to install and my files are stored on their site. As I move from computer to computer I can still use the site and access my files. If I'm working on something complicated I use Photoshop and/or Illustrator, but I only have those installed on one machine, and I don't always have it with me.
In order to use Picnik you've got to start with an image file, like a jpeg. That doesn't mean that the end result has to include the image. It's just the place you've got to start since Picnik is, first and foremost, for photos. But you can completely cover any image with other stuff. I'll get to that later on.
Because I wanted to start with an image I'd include, I started by searching flickr for "background". Lots of fabulous photographer folks post their photos on flickr and indicate that they're free for non-commercial use. If you use the Advanced Search you're able to limit your search to images that you can modify-- here's the section of the search where you can do that:
I uploaded it to Picnik. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it. It's free, and then if you love it you can upgrade your membership to add more options. But there's plenty you can accomplish with the free membership.
Once your photo is uploaded, there are lots of options. I'll keep it simple here, but you could spend all day trying them out. Under "Frames" I rounded the edges.
I decided I wanted a little less green and a even less detail so I used "Orton-ish" under "Effects".
Once I was happy with this as a background I started playing with "Stickers" and "Text". Both are very easy to apply, manipulate and remove as you like. I liked the apple:
And looking at just the text options, depending on how minimal you'd like to be, you can go with just a name. Here's the font "Santo Dumont":
Or get wordier like in this one. Here I've used the "May Queen" and "Meta Language" fonts.
There are geometric shapes that can be tooled all sorts of ways. They're "Stickers" when you're in Picnik, but they don't have to be used just the way you see them. You can use the rectangles to create stripes, for example. You can choose any color imaginable, and then there's a "Fade" slider that will adjust the transparency of each sticker.
After I got my stripes the way I wanted them, I "combined everything" so that I could re-round the edges. Then added text, this time with the "Global" font.
I decided I was done with that background and covered the whole thing with a white rectangle sticker. I added three yellow circles, three pieces of text and a flower sticker. Easy. Peasy.
If you know that you don't want a photo in the background you can start with any of Picnik's sample images, crop them to the size/proportion you want and cover it with a rectangle to create a flat background.
Whenever you've got your image the way you like it, you'll click on the "Save and Share" tab to save it to your computer.
There are a whoooole lot of other tutorials out there about how you can do this sort of thing. Here are a few that you might like if you're not keen on trying Picnik:
- Gimp is a free downloadable program. I haven't used it myself but Adrianna swears by it. It's similar to Photoshop. The site has lists of tutorials sorted by difficulty. (Adrianna's edit: I must've misled Susan in the past, because actually I swear AT it. Gimp doesn't work for me, because I learned on photoshop. If you can figure it out, more power to you. I swear by PowerPoint.)
- Microsoft Word works well for Dana.
- PowerPoint works too. Here's a presentations guy who makes it simple.
- If you're already familiar with the free software that comes with a Silhouette machine, it's fun to use for design. The cool part is that even if you don't have a Silhouette machine, you can still download and use the software for free.
- This tutorial is REALLY simple, not program-specific... and kind of funny.
And a caveat: I've given you some thoughts on designing a label that you might use to make your own labels and/or in this competition. If you're trying to make something larger-- like t-shirt designs or signage-- the type of file we're creating may not work. The larger and more varied your uses the larger/higher quality file you'll need.
If you have helpful tutorial links or questions, please comment with 'em! If you'd like to tell me that the fact that I have an art degree is not particularly represented by these designs, no worries. I hear ya. That aside, are you ready to start on your own label design now?